Friday, 6 February 2015

Cider insider 1:01

There was a young lady from Ryde,
Who ate some green apples and died;
The apples fermented
Inside the lamented,
And made cider inside her inside!

British cider - carbonated, looks like pee, gets teenagers shitfaced
It's been a learning curve this week!

My current work-in-progress Lovers' Wheel mentions cider a LOT - it's set in a magical corner of the English West Country and there is apple-picking, wassailing and drinking a-plenty going on. I didn't however realise until this last week that there may be a communication gap between me as writer, and my US readers.

Here in the UK, cider is a cheap, fizzy ALCOHOLIC drink - usually 5% or so ABV, but there are stronger ones. Until the advent of alcopops it was the gateway drink for teenagers, fufilling that vital role of giving them something to dull the taste of their cigarettes as they sit round for interminable hours in council playing fields, in the drizzle, scowling at everyone. Cider is bloody horrible, and I speak as someone who used to drink it ... and can't go near the stuff any more.

My stomach is having nightmare flashbacks RIGHT NOW

There are variants on the theme. In the West Country you can get scrumpy, which is roughly speaking home-brewed cider that is distributed or sold illicitly and is usually rumoured to be flavoured with dead rats. It's stronger than commercial varieties and not carbonated.

There are draft ciders, which are posh versions of scrumpy. They are more fashionable these last few years.

It tastes like rotting apples ... and you'll think you are stone cold sober until you try to stand up.
BUT, this week I was researching the process of cider pressing, and to my amazement found that in America, cider is not even alcoholic. They have "cider" and "hard cider". So-called "cider" or "soft cider" is in fact - according to my awesome network of informants on Facebook - fresh apple juice.


Which, at any rate, finally explained my US editor's confusion when this happened in Summer Seduction:

She opened her mouth to say something, though she hadn’t yet lined up what it was going to be—and at that moment, one of the young guys Shane had introduced her to previously bundled into the group. He was sweating and flushed, and very clearly a bit the worse for the cheap cider .

Davie looked around grinning at everyone, fixed his gaze on Liz’s breasts and announced, “Fuck me, you’ve got great tits!”

Then he put out both hands and grabbed them.

Shane, without hesitation, swung a fist in a haymaker that knocked Davie off his feet and straight into the people behind. He went down flat in a confusion of staggering drinkers, slopped cider and aggrieved shouts.

Liz stared, mouth open, as Shane stomped forward to stand over the fallen man with fists bunched. She hadn’t been offended by the sudden grope—she hadn’t had time to get offended. This was so far outside her usual experience that she was in shock.

“What the fuck!” roared a big ugly guy who’d lost his own pint over his girlfriend  in the sudden ruckus.
“You want some?” Shane demanded gleefully. There was a joyous grin on his face. “You want some too?”

You learn something new every day ... ;-)


Jo said...

Your descriptions are great - dead rat flavouring, eh? Reminded me of a bit of conversation I just reread yesterday (excuse all the typos). Might make you feel better about fermented apples!

dxdanielle: did you ever her about the vagina booze?

me: no!

dxdanielle: hear

dont get exited..its horrible^^

me: I'#m scared

dxdanielle: the romans and some eastern europeans did this hundreds and thousands of years ago

it was booze..ripened inside of dead womens wombs

me: wow

and then squeezed out?

dxdanielle: yes...

me: damn

that's hardcore

dxdanielle: totally

like the maggot cheese

me: worse than the maggot cheese

Madeleine Shade said...

I drank a bottle of lovely pear cider from France last year. It was divine. But at $16 bottle, it's a habit I can't afford. :)

Janine Ashbless said...

Wow Jo - you have successfully come up with something so horrible I'm not sure I believe it! (And if it is true - why the hell hadn't I heard of it before, eh?)

Janine Ashbless said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janine Ashbless said...

'C'est "cidre", pas "cider"'

'Non, ce'st "Perry"'

Jo said...

It wasn't me! I didn't come up with it!

Is perry necessarily all pear cider though? I thought there was a difference. But could be wrong.